street

Photo by Aman Upadhyay on Unsplash

That vendor in the neighborhood who would come singing a ballad in the hope to sell his vegetables. The fistfights during a Jal board tanker visit would be all but become a people bonding activity. The sleep-disturbing cacophony of parents dropping children to their schools and unsuccessful attempt of children to avoid school by crying and shouting throughout the way. An unending daily fight in an infamous family; an oft drunk coming late husband and the wife would satiate the desires of neighborhood spy aunts/uncles. The inescapable odor of a crowded public bus or metro train would fill our day with an essential ingredient our noses are so immune to. And lest we forget the cricket ball that would land up in khichdi and some would use it as an excuse to visit someone’s family for an unintending complaint. And rooftops that would witness youngsters developing a strange love for feeding the pigeons. And that event which would gather masses to witness an eye-enticing voyeuristic pleasure of a JCB drilling the earth open. The weekly roadside market which would be a carnival of intellectuals arguing over 5-10 Rs, would call for a day well spent. And 2 AM dogs who have the power to see witches would invite words of praise and showering stones from neighbors for their commendable work.

And then an old man would come on television and invite us to observe lightning candles and plate-banging fest of human awakening.

We would be bombarded with encouragements of social distancing by the campaigners. Not knowing what that would mean but an invisible enemy that doesn’t go away by writing on the wall “Oh stree kal aana” or Go Go chants. Soon, we would confine ourselves in the four walls of our houses. We would soon see an end to the human cacophony. Empty streets would invite haunted vibes. School children have no longer sudden 101 fever in the morning because their teachers no longer have a stick but just an angry emoji. A room freshener would never replace the ambience of metro or public buses. There would not be any cricket balls flying by and landing up in houses because the cricket bat has no finders in Pochinki. There would be no Ramu or Shamu, the vegetable vendors who would never disappoint with their discounts because they have embarked on a voyage inspired by Dashrath Manjhi. The 2 AM dogs would be joined by other animals having got enough space left from the human void.

Of all, as we would try to see as distant and far as possible the dismay and monotony would be seen. A quote in Shawshank redemption rightly says :

These walls are funny. First, you hate ’em. Then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.

Mohit Sharma is an employee at an IT firm in Gurugram, with a keen interest in satirical and leisure writing.


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